Parents of patients at the Child Center often tell Dr. Eken that they wish they’d come to Rogers sooner. Many patients at the Child Center have told her they have never met another person with the anxiety that they are experiencing. It can often be comforting for families and patients to learn that they are not alone. The Child Center is the only program in the nation that provides comprehensive assessment and intensive, evidence-based treatment for children.
Featured Doctor: Stephanie C. Eken, MD, FAAP, Medical Director, Child Center
"One of the things we hear a lot from families is that they wish they had brought their child in to treatment earlier because now they see what the child can do and how paralyzed, really, they were before. But when you’re in the midst of it it’s really hard to see as the anxiety has slowly taken things away. And then all of the sudden one day you wake up and you realize your child is not going to school and your child is only eating three things, or that somehow their reality is really changed and that they’re not with their friends anymore.
"What I think happens a lot of times is the the fear of being away from your 8 to 13 year old really prevents people from coming in to treatment especially as far away as Wisconsin. It sounds a little scary when you say I need to leave my 8-year-old at a treatment facility to deal with their anxiety. But what I want people to know is our team is so invested in helping a child, helping their family, helping them get past anxiety or OCD or mood problems, whatever it may be, so that they can get back to a life that the whole family is partaking in and also enjoying and feels successful to them.
"Many children have never met another child with something like obsessive-compulsive disorder. Recently we had a child who didn’t believe that there was anybody else in the world like them, that they were the only person in the world that had these worries, and actually when they came on their unit there were two other children who had very similar worries. It really was comforting to the child to know that their brain wasn’t so out of control that no one else had ever experienced this.
"One of the things that I think is a real gift that they walk away from the Child Center with is an ability to recognize and express emotions in an healthy way. We all have different emotions and how we deal with those really helps us get through life. I think that’s something children carry on throughout their life after they leave the Child Center, but what we want is to see them be at home, be in school, laughing and being whatever, and doing whatever activities that maybe their anxiety took away from them."